OBSESSION: A thought or image that will not go away. It may seem irritating to someone without OCD. For example, a fear of getting sick.
COMPULSION: A recurrent action often used to relieve an obsessive thought. For example, washing 20 times a day.
Hand washing or hand sanitiser use is so common in OCD that “washers” has become a generally accepted classification of OCD sufferers. The desire is often motivated by a fear of germs (the most prevalent OCD obsession), but it can also be motivated by concerns about making others sick or being impure or immoral.
If you ponder about germs after you wash your hands, fret that you’re not scrubbing well enough, or have unreasonable worries of disease, it could be an indication that you have a compulsive hand-washing problem. Hand-washing regimens can include washing five times and getting soap under each nail.
People with OCD who are “washers” are also prone to cleaning obsessively. Housecleaning, like hand-washing, is frequently used to alleviate germaphobia or feelings of impurity. Although cleaning can assist in distracting you from your obsessive thoughts, the relaxation is short-lived, and the desire to clean is typically stronger the next time.
It’s probably tied to OCD if you spend hours a day cleaning. “If you don’t [clean], you become quite worried and afraid.”
The most prevalent compulsions linked with OCD are so-called checking behaviours, which include returning three, four, or even 20 times to make sure the oven is turned off or the front door is secured. Checking behaviours affect over 30% of patients with the illness. Checking can be motivated by a range of obsessions, ranging from a fear of being injured to deep-seated emotions of responsibility, just like other obsessive activities.
It’s natural to double-check things every now and then. However, if checking becomes a routine that you can’t live without, or if it interferes with your everyday life for example by making you late for work, then it could be a sign of OCD.
Some people with OCD execute actions in a certain numerical pattern or count to themselves as they go about their daily activities (such as climbing stairs or cleaning). These habits might be influenced by superstitions. For example, a belief that the number seven is beneficial may lead someone to believe that if they do not take seven steps at a time, they may injure themselves or others.
People with OCD often take organization to the extreme. “It needs to feel correct, look right, be symmetrical, and have the proper amount [of objects],” they explain. Obsessions with order and symmetry are typically at the root of this fussiness.
When the desire to do something turns into a requirement, OCD kicks in: Many people appreciate having a neat workplace and find it useful, however people with OCD may not want to arrange their desk but feel compelled to do so in order to alleviate their worry.
Everyone has transient concerns about being harmed by violence or other disasters. According to studies, the more we attempt to avoid ideas like this, the more they come into our heads and this appears to be especially true for people with OCD.
Recurrent unpleasant ideas regarding inappropriate or prohibited sexual conduct, like violent thoughts, are common in OCD. Patients may fantasise about groping a co-worker or molesting a youngster, or they may question if they are homosexual rather than heterosexual (or vice versa).
Obsessively dissecting connections with friends, co-workers, romantic partners, and family members is common among people with OCD. They may, for example, ruminate for hours on whether a casual remark at work alienated a co-worker, or whether a little misunderstanding damaged a love connection. This mindset might be a result of an overabundance of duty and an inability to tolerate ambiguity.
Whether or not you have OCD, breaking up with a girlfriend or boyfriend might make you “obsess.” However, if ideas like this become entrenched in your brain and snowball into excessive self-doubt or anxieties about being a nasty person, it might be a symptom of OCD.
To cope with their problems, people with OCD may seek counsel from friends and relatives. Everyone uses their friends as a sounding board, but if you find yourself repeatedly asking the same question, or if a friend notices, it might be a symptom of OCD. Furthermore, the support you get from family and friends might be promoting your obsessive behaviour.
Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is an OCD-like syndrome in which patients obsess about a portion of their body that they find odd or unpleasant, most commonly their nose, complexion, or hair. (Unlike eating disorders, BDD does not emphasise weight loss or dietary modifications.) BDD is characterised by obsessive thoughts that are similar to those experienced in OCD. Many people with BDD also have OCD and are concerned with their body’s hygiene as well as how it appears.
If you experience some of the issues detailed in the list above, and feel that your are suffering with obsessive thoughts and or compulsive behaviours that are having a negative impact on your mental health, then we recommend speaking to a Doctor about your concerns.
Like with all mental health conditions, getting expert help is crucial. Many conditions such as OCD can be successfully treated with the right combination of medication and therapy.
In addition, here at Orius Medical we have a team of fully trained therapists who are available to provide free support to anyone who feels they need to speak with an understanding and supportive medical professional.
If you wish to speak with one of our therapists, you can book a free appointment at https://orius.com.ng .